Recently, redditor olymp1a asked the AskReddit community what "behind-the-scenes secrets" people who have been on game shows or reality competition shows learned. Even if you think you know a ton about reality shows, some of these might surprise you!
Note: With the exception of #3, we haven't verified these, so take them all with a grain of salt!
1. You have to be vetted to be on Cash Cab, but you really don't know if you're going to be on it until you get picked up!
"I was on Cash Cab. You can't just hail a cab in New York that turns out to be the Cash Cab. There is a vetting process, but you don't know you are going to be on the show (they tell you that you will be on a different show), so the reaction is genuine. Also, there is a lot of awkward silence while he is listening to the producer in his ear. The money he gives is prop money for TV. They mail you a check after the show airs. Ben Bailey was genuinely a nice guy."
2. The time limit on Iron Chef America is real! But the judging goes on for a while.
"I was in the audience at a Food Network taping, and Iron Chef America really is a 60-minute competition. That's not fudged. The judging, on the other hand, takes foreeeeever."
3. The judges on shows like Chopped are almost always eating cold food by the time it's served to them.
"The dishes the MasterChef contestants make are normally stone cold by the time they get to the tasting table, so the judges usually taste the elements of each dish as they're walking around the kitchen during the cooking stage. This allows them to have some idea how the finished dish will taste and to see the contestants' proficiency with kitchen equipment."
4. Sometimes a "lifetime supply" can get a little technical.
"My teacher was on Wheel of Fortune Australia, and he won a lifetime supply of WD-40. It turns out that with average usage, a can of WD-40 lasts 20 years, so a life's supply is four cans."
5. And beware a lifetime supply of one specific kind of food, because you might never want it again.
"When my wife was a kid, she won a lifetime supply of Butterfinger candy bars. It was two cases. Not the cardboard flats you can buy at bulk stores, but two actual factory crates like a grocery store would get...so several hundred candy bars. She said when she first got them, she felt ripped off because while it was a lot, she was only a kid, so there was no way it was a 'lifetime' supply.
"She made it through half the first case before she started giving them away to anyone that would take them. By the end of the second case, she was throwing them away.
"Now, as an adult several decades later, she still won’t eat Butterfingers. So I guess it really was all the Butterfingers she would ever need for the rest of her life."
6. Some (possibly all) House Hunters participants have already bought the house before they appear on the show.
"Earlier this year I was on House Hunters, and obviously, everything was staged. You buy the house first and then you get to go on the show. You can always tell what house they’re going to buy because it’s always the empty one. The house touring was fake for us, at least when we did it, because one of the houses didn’t want us filming there, so we had to get a fake house to tour. I remember we were filming us going somewhere in the car, and I was dropped off in a cornfield.
"The filming crew were really nice and took us out for lunch. They were all super fun to be around and made us laugh during cuts. But the filming process lasted over three weeks, and it’s only a 20-minute show, so it was definitely tiring. I remember everyone, even people I barely knew, watched the show, and it was kind of embarrassing, but still a fun experience overall."
7. Sometimes The Price Is Right offers a redo on bids.
"They let the other girl in the Showcase Showdown rebid after the audience booed her original bid (something silly low like $10,000). When it aired, they cut her original bid and showed only her second, winning bid. I lost."
8. Sometimes they actually cut drama OUT of The Bachelorette.
"I was at a group date for The Bachelorette. As you can imagine, the show is heavily produced. They only aired about 5 percent of what actually happened on the date. I have a really reactive face, so they used a bunch of my reactions in the show, but they were completely out of context because they cut all of the actual drama out of the date and only aired the vanilla stuff. So one contestant says something like, 'Women are always right,' and they show me making this gasping face that’s totally out of place haha."
9. Sometimes props are just props.
"My wife got a tattoo on a tattoo competition show. They gave her headphones to wear while she was being tattooed, but she wasn’t allowed to actually plug them in and listen to music. Pure product placement."
10. The wheel on Wheel of Fortune is frickin' heavy.
"I was on Wheel of Fortune. You have to get there at 5 a.m., and you draw straws with other contestants to decide when you will film. They film the entire week of episodes in one day. Pat Sajak is incredibly friendly and interacted with us on every break. The wheel is HEAVY."
11. There's a reason the audience on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is so bad at answering "Ask the audience" polls.
"I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The reason the audience is so completely useless (and why you see so many press wrong on obvious answers) is that 20%–30% of the audience is friends and family to the other seven contestants who are waiting for their turn. We spent two days in the studio, and if the initial contestant loses, the others get their chance. If one contestant goes far and takes a lot of time, no one else gets a chance, so the audience tells the wrong answer on purpose."
12. They tape as many as five episodes of Jeopardy in one day.
"For Jeopardy they tape five episodes (a week’s worth) a day, two days a week (the same crew works on Wheel of Fortune, which is literally next door). Twelve contestants show up for the taping day: the returning champion from the previous week, enough challengers to fill in the first four episodes, another challenger for the Friday episode, and two 'alternates' in case something happens. The alternates tend to be locals from the LA area in case they have to come back later. Before the final taping, if the two alternates haven’t gotten to appear, one of them is randomly chosen to be the second challenger on the Friday show. The one who isn’t chosen is invited to come back on a future taping date, but then with a guaranteed slot as a challenger. Selections of challengers and even sets of clues are random in order to stay fair."
13. Shows usually tell audiences when to applaud/laugh and will move people around if they give good reactions.
"Not really a game show, but I was an audience member with my class for America’s Funniest Videos. They literally had empty plates and cups at some tables and a light-up sign telling us when to laugh. Sometimes they would even move audience members depending on how well they laughed. This field trip was for our school drama club."
14. On The X Factor and other singing competition shows, you have to audition in front of "off-camera" judges first.
"I auditioned for The X Factor. You don’t go to the celebrity judges right away; first you go in front of some 'off-camera' judges. So every terrible and horrible singer you see on the show has already been told they are better than the many talented ones not deemed 'TV worthy,' which makes it a lot more disgusting to me.
"I also only got to sing one line and they said next. Same with three very talented people in my audition group who I thought for sure would be picked. Instead they picked the emotional girl who cried but sang only average."
15. Contestants on The Price Is Right are interviewed beforehand, not chosen at random.
"I was a contestant on The Price Is Right. They don't choose people at random. They interview everyone in the audience for about 30 seconds earlier in the day and decide who to pick based on that."
16. One kids competition show allegedly sabotaged contestants.
"I was in a sort of 'kids racing game' show. It was canceled shortly after I participated in it. I can't remember the exact details because I was like 6 or 7, but I will never forget how they made me feel.
"Basically, we were a bunch of little kids racing each other to complete the most games in a certain time. If you completed the whole thing (around 20 games or so) without the time running out or without breaking certain rules for each 'level,' you won a shit ton of toys, or something like that.
"They made 'tests runs' that were actually them recording the whole thing without us knowing. I completed the whole thing in like 7 minutes — it was supposed to last at least 15 minutes. The 'level helpers' took me aside and told me it was an amazing run, so I got qualified to appear on the TV show.
"In the actual recording, the level helpers sabotaged me. They grabbed me to prevent me from popping the balloons of the first level, pushed balloons away from me, pushed the correct balloons toward other kids (you were supposed to pop balloons to find a key for the next level), and gave me a 'timeout' for breaking rules that I wasn't breaking.
"I specifically remember running up a ramp, after being sabotaged a LOT by the 'helpers,' to get to my next level. I was catching up to the other kids, and they fucking grabbed my ankle and made me fall off the ramp. I was disqualified because I 'took too long to get to the other level.' They forced me to sit on the losers box and watch all of the other kids — whom I had already beaten up in the test run — finish the thing and win.
"I did not appear in that episode when it showed on TV. Not even me 'failing.'"
17. And finally, apparently Nickelodeon slime is delicious.
"The green slime at Nickelodeon tastes like pineapple."
Do you have a behind-the-scenes secret you learned while working on or being a contestant on a reality or game show? Let us know in the comments, and your story might be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed post!
Note: Submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.